Monday, July 22, 2013

Rhymin' Simon at Studio Theater Mizner Parkl

Hello Darkness My Old Friend.

Those are the opening words of Paul Simon’s greatest hit, “The Sounds of Silence.” It pretty much sums up the musical revue playing the Studio Theater at Mizner Park Cultural Center through Aug. 4. You could call it a mixed blessing.
Paul Simon is best-known as the introspective song-writing half of the popular singing duo “Simon and Garfunkel.”
I had the privilege of seeing S&G at their 1981 historic reunion at Central Park, which drew the largest audience in the history of New York City. The excitement was absolutely electric. For a magical few hours everyone in New York was on the same page.
I’ve also seen Paul Simon as a solo artist both in New York and Florida, and in another reunion concert with Garfunkel, paired with the immortal Everly Brothers.
“The Sounds of Simon” was conceived and co-produced by Gary Waldman and Jamison Troutman. Waldman also stars as one of the urban characters who perform Simon’s best-loved songs.
Paul Simon was raised in Forest Hills, Queens, and he has never lost his love for New York City. The young singing and dancing performers represent typical city characters. Waldman humbly presents himself as a homeless guy pushing a cart. There is a cool Latin dude (Joel Alfonso), a cool black dude in a wheel chair (Andre Russell), a dancing girl (Lauren Bell), lovely black girls (Renee Turner, Brettnie Blake, Kerine Jean-Pierre), an upper-class white woman (Kimberley Xavier Martins), a small guy (Jon Yepez), a skinny, lithe, dreadlocked dancer (Elijah Word) and an all-purpose player (Alissa Kane).
Choreographer Ben Solmor also performs, but he was not in the cast the night we saw it.
If you like the music of Paul Simon, you are bound to like “Words and Music By Paul Simon.” I have always found him a bit pretentious. I came away from the experience with a newfound appreciation for Art Garfunkel. Without his angelic upper harmonies I don’t think Paul Simon would ever have been as successful as he is now.
Tickets are $35 with group discounts available. Call 561-600-0495.

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